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Companies who operate second and third shifts have little choice for injury care other than the local emergency room. Nova Medical Centers offer employers a viable after hours alternative for non-emergency injuries through a physician staffed triage hotline.

Please contact us for more information about this free service at 1-866-480-1310.

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Creating a “Culture of Health” in the Workplace

Culture of Health (COH) is a workplace environment in which employee health improvement is supported and promoted through worksite health and well-being programs including benefits and environmental support. This program is to not only encourage individual behavioral change but also to reduce the common stressors in the workplace that have negative take home effects on health behavior.

Work is an important part of life; something that is necessary for the financial stability of an individual. Implementing a culture of health would not only be a long term beneficial improvement among workers but also to the employer. In fact, an employer will receive a very high return on investment for example,

  • Lower insurance costs- the CDC state that healthy employees spend less out-of-pocket on health-related expenses and so do their employers. Employees in good health present a lower insurance risk which translates into lower insurance costs.
  • Improving employee engagement- employees perceive the company as caring for their well-being
  • Heightened job satisfaction- the promotion of health and well-being results in greater employee engagement, satisfaction, and trust.
  • Boosting morale- better health means happy and more energetic productive workers.
  • Fewer absences- chances of being sick are less to none, reducing the number of sick days and time spent away from work

Culture of health is not only about implementing a set of rules but understanding the big picture and leading by example. First, you must understand your organization. Knowing people’s motivation, needs and preferences are important in making sure they all get the message and are motivated to engage in healthier behaviors. The goal is to discover the best practices for each given workplace environment. To be effective, workplace wellness programs need to be intertwined into the structure of the organization.

According to the RAND Employer Survey, employers overwhelmingly expressed confidence that workplace wellness programs reduce medical cost, absenteeism, and health-related productivity losses. For further support, partnering with an expert in this area will help move you move from contemplation into action. Organizations such as Cigna helps employers build the framework to implement such a culture. Creating a strong COH in the workplace is a very important addition which often translates into greater profits, happier clients and improved overall workplace rankings.

At Nova Medical Centers, we solely focus on occupational health. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety needs. Contact us for more information about any of our services. Our skilled and friendly staff members are ready to meet all your occupational health needs.

Coronavirus and Employer Obligations

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness in people. Coronaviruses circulate among animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

As headlines continue to emerge every day on the spread of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak, employers are struggling to determine how to respond. The respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019 has recently spread to the United States and is growing worldwide. The first confirmed case in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020, following person-person spread with the virus on January 30, 2020.

In addition, China has also reported the spread of the virus from infected patients to healthcare workers. Every employer should evaluate the risks and analyze their defenses against worker exposure. Companies are also advised to avoid all non-essential traveling to China. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that exposure risk may be elevated for some workers who interact with potentially infected travelers abroad including those involved in:

  • healthcare,
  • airline employees and border protection,
  • solid waste and wastewater management
  • laboratories
  • death care

There is still much more to uncover about the symptoms and essentially how the transfer to person to person occurs. Current cases have ranged from mild symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath to rather severe cases causing death. Symptoms appear in as few as 2 to 14 days after exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spread from person to person most likely occurs among close contact of about 6 feet. Person-person transfer is thought to be airborne as a result of respiratory droplets that occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes near another which then lands in the mouths or noses of those nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

The CDC and OSHA have provided general guidance for all workers and individuals regardless of specific exposure risk. Below are a few practices you can implement to decrease exposure to coronavirus:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled
  • Make hand sanitizers available to employees.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay at home. Be flexible with sick leave.
  • Collaborate with your temp and contractor firms to do the same.
  • Require employees to notify you if they are infected or exposed.
  • Respect changes to and limits on travel. Follow U.S. government travel advisories due to the coronavirus. Encourage video-conferencing and other tools instead.
  • Develop or update an infectious disease outbreak response plan (see CDC web site), which details how you will deal with exposed workers and infected workers and contaminated workplaces.
  • In the case of workplace exposure, determine which people and areas were exposed. Send affected employees to medical care or home. Take appropriate steps to decontaminate the environment. Follow OSHA standards on personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communications, and related issues.

It is important to educate and spread awareness on the best safety practices between the workforce and the general public. Knowing the risks and hazards and consistently applying the provided procedures will further decrease exposure to the coronavirus.

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A Call to Action: Cybersecurity Audit

Cybersecurity audit refers to an assessment of an organization’s cybersecurity policies and procedures and their operating effectiveness. It helps the organization manage cyber threats, monitor security operations and takes actions if needed. Additionally, a cybersecurity audit provides a higher level of security because it vigorously inspects your digital infrastructure to find weak spots.

The U.S. government spends about $18 billion per year on cybersecurity but warns that cyber-attacks continue to advance at a rapid speed. Cybersecurity threats affect everyone regardless of industry or size. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated constantly changing their pattern and strategy of attack. Below are the 6 most common cyberattack methods hackers use to attack your business:

  • Malware- cybercriminals continue to steal data from victim’s computers most commonly using spyware.
  • Social engineering- developing new methods to manipulate users into believing a message, link or attachment is from a trusted source and then infecting targeted systems with malware.
  • Hacking- exploiting vulnerabilities in software and hardware.
  • Credential compromise- while enterprise users increasingly look to password managers for storing and keeping track of passwords theses managers can also be vulnerable to attack.
  • Web attacks- cybercriminals can extort website operators for profit, sometimes by threatening to steal client databases, etc.
  • DDoS- these attacks typically hit government institutions and political events are a major driver. DDoS tend to be the weapon of choice for business rivals, disgruntled clients and hacktivists.

With technology constantly advancing and society becoming more reliant on the use of computers performing one cybersecurity audit is not enough; but rather annually if not at least on a monthly basis. Involve people with the necessary experience and skills to evaluate the full cybersecurity framework of your business. Below are 6 ways to prepare for a cybersecurity audit

  • Inventory of what is connected to your network- create a network device inventory, review at least monthly to look for new devices or devices that are no longer connected so you can update your inventory.
  • Determine what is running on all your network devices- tools such as Nessus can be used to run inventory on the software of each computer as it scans the network to perform the device inventory.
  • The Principle of Least Privilege- never give a user or device more rights on the network than they/it needs to perform their assigned tasks.
  • Use secure configurations- all operating systems, web browsers and many other networked devices have secure configuration settings. The Center for Internet Security provides benchmarks for just about every conceivable device.
  • Set up a policy and procedure for applying security patches-New vulnerabilities are discovered every day and as a result, vendors release updates or patches to mitigate the vulnerability.
  • Create an incident plan- once you determine potential risks you will need to create policies and procedures and also train employees on what to do.

According to Silent Breach, more than half of the cyberattacks rely on social engineering or email phishing taking the step to train employees on internet safety is just as important. Also, become aware of the threat cyber hacks now pose to the world and taking the necessary steps to improve our defenses. With so much at stake, it is important to take action now. Continued awareness and preparation may be the key to your company’s future.

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